Inadequate Internal Controls Affect Quality and Reliability of the Civil Service Retirement System's Annual Report

AFMD-83-3: Published: Oct 22, 1982. Publicly Released: Oct 22, 1982.

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GAO reported on the quality and reliability of the financial and actuarial information presented by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) in its 1980 report on the Civil Service Retirement System. GAO also reviewed the plan's internal control procedures to determine their effectiveness in ensuring the reliability of the information used.

GAO found that OPM did not establish adequate internal control procedures to ensure reliable data. The inadequacies resulted because OPM did not properly control the design, development, and maintenance of the computer programs used in performing actuarial valuations. OPM also did not establish accounting and review procedures sufficient to prevent inaccurate financial data from being reported. OPM also failed to ensure that the annual report was prepared in complete accordance with reporting guidelines which encompass generally accepted accounting principles and the reporting requirements of statutory law.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to direct the preparer of the plan's annual report to completely follow OMB instructions which encompass generally accepted accounting principles and the applicable section of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to establish procedures to ensure that complete information on expenditures is available to the plan on a timely basis and that expenses are properly associated with the fiscal year in which they are incurred.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to establish procedures to properly account for overpayments of annuities and refunds. The procedures should require subsidiary records that can be accurately maintained and summarized in a reasonable amount of time.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to establish review procedures over the computation of accruals to ensure that the methods used meet management's criteria and that the results are reasonable.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to implement control procedures over program changes. These procedures should include the requirement that each program change be authorized, documented, independently tested and certified, and implemented through the production program coordinator. Further, the programs should be placed in the production library of the computer system.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to have an independent test conducted of the valuation programs to ensure their accuracy and completeness and to determine whether design specifications and user needs are being met.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to document the actuarial valuation programs using guidance provided by the National Bureau of Standards. Such documentation should include, as a minimum, source program listings, narrative descriptions of the computer programs, program and database specifications, descriptions of table organization, a users' manual, a program maintenance manual, and the test plan and results.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should require the plan administrator to ensure that the enrolled actuary who reviews the actuarial data in the plan's annual report also provide a statement that, to the best of his or her knowledge, the report is complete and accurate.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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